In answer to a query from Variety, Sony issued the following statement: “Sony Pictures Imageworks will not renew its lease in Chennai, India when it expires in March. This facility made significant contributions to such productions as ‘MIB3′ and the upcoming ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2.’ Imageworks is committed to its headquarters in Culver City and facility in Vancouver, BC.”This comes a little more than a week after reports that Imageworks will move more employees to their Vancouver facility:
Imageworks India was launched when Sony acquired Indian animation studio FrameFlow in 2007. Veteran vfx producer Joe Gareri was hired as general manager of Imageworks India and Imageworks’ web site still lists him in that role. Imageworks did not disclose the number of employees who will lose their jobs but insiders say the Chennai branch had around 100 employees, very few of whom will be relocated.
"Sony Pictures Imageworks is focused on maintaining an organization that delivers high-quality work while being responsive to our client's needs. As part of this process, we are transitioning a percentage of our technology teams to our Vancouver, B.C., studio in order to provide greater support to our artist community and remain cost competitive."
The reasons for this are pretty clear to those who read this blog. The name of the game in today's entertainment world is SUBSIDIES.
If you're giving them out, the studios will come a-runnin. If, however, your subjugated proletariat comes to believe their tax money should be spent on something else (ie. themselves!), entertainment studios are more than happy to head to "greener" pastures .. and as fast as you can say "corporate welfare".
This move validates an argument that TAG member and VFX blogger VFX Soldier has been making for years:
#VFX goes to subsidized locations instead of cheap labor locations.. and punctuates his reasons for the effort to bring countervailing duties provided under the World Trade Organization laws to the visual effects industry.